Functional imaging of human crossmodal identification and object recognition

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • A. Amedi - , Harvard University (Author)
  • K. Von Kriegstein - , Chair of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Cognitive Neurology Unit, University Hospital Frankfurt, Brain Imaging Center (BIC) (Author)
  • N. M. Van Atteveldt - , Maastricht University (Author)
  • M. S. Beauchamp - , National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Author)
  • M. J. Naumer - , Brain Imaging Center (BIC), Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)


The perception of objects is a cognitive function of prime importance. In everyday life, object perception benefits from the coordinated interplay of vision, audition, and touch. The different sensory modalities provide both complementary and redundant information about objects, which may improve recognition speed and accuracy in many circumstances. We review crossmodal studies of object recognition in humans that mainly employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). These studies show that visual, tactile, and auditory information about objects can activate cortical association areas that were once believed to be modality-specific. Processing converges either in multisensory zones or via direct crossmodal interaction of modality-specific cortices without relay through multisensory regions. We integrate these findings with existing theories about semantic processing and propose a general mechanism for crossmodal object recognition: The recruitment and location of multisensory convergence zones varies depending on the information content and the dominant modality.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-571
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005

External IDs

PubMed 16028028
ORCID /0000-0001-7989-5860/work/142244416


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Audio-visual, Crossmodal, Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Multisensory, Object recognition, Visuo-tactile

Library keywords